12 Strange Foods Brought to Church Potlucks


Many churches still have potluck meals. Some have them once a week; others celebrate this tradition once a year at a homecoming event.

I remember them well in some of the churches where I served as pastor. One of the most challenging issues for me occurs when a church member asks me to try his or her dish. I still have nightmares about those experiences.

So, I went to social media and asked for feedback (pun intended). What are some of the strangest and weirdest dishes you have seen at church potluck meals? We had many responses. It was tough to highlight just twelve of them, but I decided to throw up, I mean throw out, these responses.

I know I left out many good and nauseating responses. These are not listed in any particular order: 

1. Alpo casserole. Yes, a church member admitted that the dog food was the “meat” in the dish.

2. Raccoon. The respondent did not indicate if the raccoon was grilled, baked, or fried. That would make a lot of difference.

3. Rattlesnake. I admit I tried that dish one time. It was both my first and last time.

4. Livermush. Everything about this word bothers me.

5. Grilled chicken feet and intestines. I like chicken. But there are some parts of the chicken I didn’t think you could eat. These two would be among them.

6. Armadillo cake. I had to read it twice. Yes, he did say “cake.”

7. Squirrel pot pie. I hope it was appropriately labeled.

8. Crow. I’ve eaten crow several times, but not literally.

9. Coconut cake brought by a lady that has an indoor white Persian cat. I have never liked coconut. This example is the clincher for me.

10. Pasta covered in Jello. Give the cook bonus points for creativity.

11. Cow hoof stew. No. Just no.

12. Possum dumplings. I wouldn’t eat possum. And I am worried about where they got the dumplings.

Thanks for letting me share a bit of levity in this article. Now, let me hear from you. Do you have any “different” potluck dishes you have seen or experienced?

Posted on July 12, 2021

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • Chicken feet and intestines also gizzards are eaten in some countries. And are even considered a choice dish. Chicken feet is an appetizer in some Chinese Restaurant.

  • Those foods are not as far afield as some might think. In Texas we serve armadillo eggs but they have nothing to do with armadillos. I’ve cooked pigs feet (“trotters”) and they are terrible but quite edible. I have a few recipes for opossum but would never eat them.

  • Campbell Thames says on

    Yes, those are some strange food, but I thought everyone knew about armadillo cake… It’s red velvet cake in the shape of an armadillo with cream cheese icing dyed gray… at least that’s what I hope it is.
    Unless it’s in Louisana, then you take your chances…

  • Can’t top any of those Tom. Makes me glad I live in New England where most of those “delicacies” are not on the menu, though I have had squirrel chili, which I have to admit went down (and stayed down) just fine.

  • Ken Overturf says on

    Had a church member who would make a rum cake for every church dinner. At one event she neglected to add the rum prior to baking. To correct the issue, she poured the rum over the cake after baking and let it soak in. There were some interesting responses when people ate it – in a traditional Bible Belt southern Baptist church.

  • From this side, having done a significant amount of traveling in far away places in the Navy, I don’t doubt that I have eaten many things that would show up on the list of bad potluck food. Not the least of which would be raw horse meat (in Japan) by the sashimi, and maybe whale. I had chicken feet at a dim sum parlor in Hong Kong (and don’t ask about what was in the dim sum because I didn’t ask) and once I got past the name they weren’t bad.

    But, there definitely are things on that list that would be a hard pass – pasta and Jello. Nope.

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